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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn


cropIt's always kinda embarrassing (to me, anyway) to finish a page & then fail on the intro, because that's very much a tail-wagging-the-dog situation, but that's exactly what happened yesterday. But hey, I did kettlebell with my friend, and yes, my arthritic knee felt better afterwards, and then I tried the heating pad on it before going to bed, so yeah, this dude's doctor's recces (for which the teal deer is basically, keep moving! It really is better for you! —which I shoulda figured out on my own, it's not like my bobbin lacemaking teacher well over a quarter century ago didn't note how her elderly students’ arthritic hands felt better after taking up the gentle twist & cross movements of the craft...that said, I do find when it gets bad from over-exercising that a week off helps to reset; but it also explains why some runners pop anti-inflammatories like candy, it's the inflammation that's causing the pain.)

Today's accomplishment was resuscitating some elderly blueberries—f2tE spotted the high red to blue ratio of early-season tart blueberries & snagged them for me, but alas! while they were probably spectacular when picked, then I think they sat for 3 weeks or more, and were pretty tasteless, and somewhat mushy, by the time I got ’em. I tried adding lemon juice to the liquid of the first batch, along with minced peel, and that was...edible. But, hey, after noticing how the marinade plumped up some oldish oranges as well as sharpening up the lost zing, I wondered if soaking these blueberries in lemon juice would help?

So I tried it, washing, then drying the blueberries on doubled paper towel (which will get reused in the studio for tasks dis-suited for rags going into the washer, and then composted!) & dropped them in a bowl with fresh lemon juice for an hour or two. Tried tasting one, and it did seem better, so subbed these things in for the traditional blueberry recipe. Went with a bit of extra oil, a whole 4T sugar, and all white-flour, eggs rather ground flaxseed (least-healthy, but oldest, & most preferred version) of the classic, though I did have sub sour cream (also elderly & needing to be eaten) mixed with water for the milk I didn't have, and added 0.25 t baking soda, and voila! Not bad.

And then, of course, while writing this, realized this wasn't the first time I'd tried this. Memory like a sieve, that's one of the big reasons I document things. But heyyyy, now I know I can leave out those other additions...(also, sorry about all the bangs, but there's perfect hazy sunshine! my chionodoxa is finally spreading a bit! Imma gonna start making real art, real soon now...)

So here's some more food & health linkies, mostly for my benefit:

  • here again is that link to those exercise & knee pain recces I found so helpful
  • I found this woman's quarter-century fitness journey, which didn't really get going until she was 65, pretty inspiring. She's 90 now, and I'm betting that she eats a traditional Japanese diet, which probably doesn't hurt either.
  • This lot of vegan substitution tips for baking is a nice roundup. Not surprisingly, the last instruction, don't be afraid to experiment, is very helpful (as was the ones to let the chia or ground flax seeds sit long enough to develop their binding qualities when using them to sub for eggs...) which I s'pose is today's theme:)

Oh yeah, the art on which to hang this intro...


cropI have been editing those little brush and ink sketches and a bunch of them will appear in due course, but I wanted to preserve this recipe (or at least approach) before I forgot it—I don't think it's especially earth-shattering or original, though I expect the popular version is for pineapple, not oranges, but they're similar in composition and sour/sweet profile, so the technique works for either.

So here we go, how (I) roast fruit.


cropI actually created this intro almost exactly 8 years ago, when I was briefly obsessed with zentangles, I think possibly because my neighbor Patricia B was interested in them? At any rate, I spent most of 3Apr2013 reading up on them, made this intro the following day of some of my faves—which, amazingly enough are still live links—aaaaand concluded ‘zentangle’ was basically a slickly packaged version of doodling and left it at that.

So here are some ancient zentangle linkies:

My current faves, (which probably inspired me to return to this old material) are my friend Melanie Brook's zentangle explorations on her IG which she's using to master new media and techniques, such as masking with gel pens.

And here's a doodle, also from April of 2013, the only other evidence of my interest in zentangles that I've managed to stumble across.


cropHappy April Fool's, if that's your sort of thang (it's not mine, yet more evidence, I guess, that I'm not normal, or as they say nowadays, neurotypical. I'd forgotten, how common it used to be, for me simply to say, ‘I'm not normal’, as a sort of badge, and leave it at that. The new word may be longer, but it's also a lot more precise, and, I think kinder to the NTs as well, who no longer are automatically castigated as “boring” [the implied flip side of being “normal”].)

But the real reason I slotted today's last-minute page in (besides the fact that my knee hurts so I can't go hiking, so I have more time to waste procrastinate spend on web pages) is that yesterday was trans day of visibility and I was bummed I missed it—even though I had it right in my list of things to do to blog over! Rats.

Turns out, the person who started this did so in Detroit, my home-town, which is cool, but one of the things it took me a long time to internalize, and I think is sometimes lost in the blare of publicity of what people think of as traditionally trans—the socalled f-t-m or especially m-t-f “transitions” is that not all trans people “switch” from one to the other. (Well, technically, I think they are always who they are; it's just getting the body, both one's own as well as the larger body public to match that internal perception.)

Some of us don't really want to be tied down (genderfluid) others would like to sit right in the middle, what used to be called androgynous. I never understood how girls could get excited about getting boobs, or boys facial hair. Ugh, ugh, ugh... I wanted an adult body without the sexual dimorphism. Still do, really.

This doesn't mean I don't love my kids (or my spouse), or want to rape people or whatever other horrid lies are going around trans people. Like those folks I wrote about yesterday, my identity as an artist is the bit most important to me; I just want to make art, and, with a bit of luck, spread joy, peace and happiness around me as best I may.


cropWhoops! sorry about the glitch in the link. Fixed now. (Plus I forgot today was trans visibility day...)

O hai, slowly working through the pile of obligations, so I'm rewarding myself with a break to make a web page; and while doing some of the bits that weren't word heavy, I listened to a couple of episodes of Sway —in the first the host, Kara Swisher, interviewed Glennon Doyle who started out being a ...Christian Family blogger, then pivotted after falling in love another woman. This woman is seriously feminist, so I appreciated that; another was her decided pushing back on the ‘failure’ of her first marriage: yes, she said, it ended, but both she and her spouse grew and were better people at the end of it. Plus, 3 kick-ass kids.

She had some interesting stuff to say about listening to marginalized communities (“I listen, then do what they tell me” —if I could mandate one thing for schools, I'd put in a class on listening...) and of course the hook to get people to listen was that she was Joe Biden's ‘in’ to the white-woman-vote (I fit this, but had never heard of her...)

But the bit that fascinated me was her acknowledgement (mostly still not talked about) that sexual orientation is probably a lot more fluid and less inborn than is currently the fashion to admit: and for the very reason she was quite up-front about, that it endangers teens and others in precarious situations, exposing them to the dangers of ‘conversion’ therapy and the like. As I recall, she didn't overtly mention it, but I imagine that as society relaxes over fears of non-heteronormative identities, this will become more widely explored and discussed. As a person with what I suspect is a (somewhat) environmentally mediated gender presentation, I'm on board.

The next podcast I listened to was an interview with Beeple, a digital 3D collage artist in the news for having just sold 13 years’ worth of ‘art-a-day’ posts for nearly 70 million —in cryptocurrency. (Which he mostly promptly converted to USD.) I have very low opinions of digital currency, for many of the reasons the artist cited: there's a lot wild-west-pie-in-the-sky valuation, mining cryptocurrancy wastes tremendous amounts of energy, and it's not gonna be a panacea for the 99.9% of artists who don't achieve fame and fortune—this dude, like Jackson Pollock, was in the right place at the right time with the right brand & lucked out.

I liked his take because while he clearly is interested in block-chain and its potential impacts on society, he's relatively new to the really-big-bucks and despite his rubbing shoulders with Elon Musk & similar dudes (the sort who are paying him millions of dollars for his digital art) he seems pretty conscious of both positive and negative aspects.

But there's no question that his boundary pushing art (yeah, like, political figures squirting milk out of their nipples and the like) would be orders of magnitude harder for a woman artist to push out—at least not without getting a lot of death threats, rape jokes, sexualized innuendo etc. He didn't talk nearly as explicitly about his privilege, but I do think he was aware of it. And I have to say I liked the idea of getting 90% of the original selling price of a piece of art, and 10% of its next sale—he went from, I dunno, 6K (or maybeeeee 60K) to 600K, a huuuuuuge jump for an earlier piece.

I liked this guy, even though I was predisposed not to, because he's upfront about the role luck played in his life, and also because he's very much of the ‘come on in & play in the sandbox! It's awesome fun!’ and I always appreciate that geek over hipster vibe.

What I noticed about both of these folks, though, is that they write memoirs and make digital art because ‘it's what I do.’ Well, right now, doodling seems to be what I do...


cropWell, I see I totally flubbed posting last week, so it's back to weekly on Sundays, I guess. In my defense there's been a bit of heavy family goings-on for the last month or so; but right now, not only the wizard but several other people are waiting on *me** to do my part for projects that are for my* benefit, and I feel bad about that—all I can do, I guess, is remember that while I almost never get projects done as soon as I wish or hope, they do eventually get completed.

Of course there are any number of links...here are some of the ones I found especially appealing:

  • Guy wants to write a Batman style comic book that actually tackles the underlying problem of Batman, the fact that the guy is basically a rich-asshole-vigilante. Sounds good to me...
  • Homicides rose in 2020, and there's no clear explanation. Nor would I have expected one, frankly: it almost had to be a variety of factors.
  • In a similar way, an interdisciplinary researcher is showing the Plague started about two centuries earlier than thought, and proved to be a pandemic that lasted—spoiler! for half a millennium. Yikes. What especially impressed me about this article was that the info was there all the time, it just took someone with the curiosity & determination to assemble a lot of different resources, in many languages, to figure it out.
  • In one of my favourite author's universes, a character reflects on a society's preservation of a foodstuff for over a thousand years, through an ongoing calamity at least as dire as plague; yet the chalk horse (referenced, btw, by another beloved fantasy author, Sir Pterry...) has survived three millennia. That's amazing, and it gives me hope for humanity's future. (As indeed was the point of the character's musing in the Bujold.)
  • Speaking of favourite authors, Katherine Addison/Sarah Monette has a lot of her Kyle Murchison/Bone-Key atmospheric horror on the internet for free which is wonderful; even more delightful, she's got a new book in the Goblin Emperor universe coming out.
  • Haven't read anything of Isabel Yap's yet, but her soft spot for anime & fanfic certainly inclines me to.
  • The sf&f community has been wrestling with its eurocentric white roots for awhile (as Yap notes, above); and one reason I'd like us to get moving on the need to acknowledge wrongs done to Black usians and the tribes making up ‘American Indians’...is because after that, I think we need to start thinking more seriously about the other animals with whom we share the planet. To that end, I find the concept of a film from the POV of these socialized strays of this dogumentary pretty interesting.
  • Ima supposed to be gardening, making plant sticks for my spring-blooming bulbs (e.g. the iris features this week) not to mention aaaaaart, and doing very poorly at it—but I can watch youtube vids of other people making no problem! Currently trying to make a little indoor rock fountain (to mask the sound of a local power plant, grrrrrrrr!) and this dude's channel is my fave. If you're interested in terraquaria, check him out. Bonus, you can learn what all those different kinds of moss are that you see hiking, and make a super-low-cost terrarium to feature them all:)

Or you can check out some so-so color editing & image making by me...